Dimitris K. Xenakis


The European Union's (EU) post-Cold War agenda has been reshaped to accommodate regional transformations in its periphery, whilst preserving the symbiotic relationship with its members. The 1989 shift of the European international system resulted in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) to aspire becoming part of the European zone of democracy, stability and prosperity as currently embodied by the EU. Yet, it is also no secret that the stability and prosperity of the Mediterranean region is of great importance to Europe in general, and the EU in particular. In view of the massive prospective enlargement towards the CCEE, it was necessary for the EU to strengthen its relations with the Mediterranean south. The accession of Cyprus would correct this geographical imbalance by adding another Mediterranean member, and by extending the Union's boundaries offshore to the Middle East. Yet, the Cyprus relations with the EU, besides the economic development of the island and the resolution of the long-standing national problem, extend to issues of stability and prosperity in the Mediterranean. In fact, the latter is the arena within which Cyprus has to live and flourish. The fact that Mediterranean issues feature rather low in the EU's policy priorities is arguably against the fundamental Cypriot interest for greater European involvement in the development of the region. It is questionable how the Cypriot priorities in the Mediterranean would fit those of the eastwards enlarged EU. The twin foci of this paper are directed both on the implications arising from the changing European international system, as well as on those stemming from the new Euro-Mediterranean politics for Cyprus, a 'small' island-state in the Eastern Mediterranean. The crucial question concerns the role Cyprus could play as a member of the Union (once in), as well as an actor in the emerging management structures of the Euro-Mediterranean space.